I think it's a combination of some fear buying and some price gouging. If you live in area that is well saturated with black rifles already, there isn't much demand. If you live in area that doesn't have a lot of black rifles, there is, conversely, a higher demand in fear of the coming AWB II.
Many of the retailers ( Rock River, Bushmaster, Olympic ) have been behind on full rifle orders for months now, with projects being many more months before they catch up.
Olympic Arms, as they are right down the road and we happen to know a guy who machines for them in the shop, had mandatory 24 hour crews for months over the summer in the longer daylight days to help keep up with demand.
Krieger Barrels, another company we do business with alot, is out 18 weeks on AR barrels. 2 years ago at this time, it was more like 4 to 6 weeks.
It's just supply and demand. We have seen, probably, a 30% to 50% increase in just calls or questions about SUR's since the end of Oct / beginning of Nov.
I wonder why?
If you can still snatch up good AR's at $600 - it might make a good investment. Next year you could probably double your money selling them face to face inside the state.